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Walk of the Month: Our Favourites From 2015

Friday, January 1st, 2016
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First things first, a very Happy New Year to you from everyone here at Sykes Cottages! We hope you had a great time celebrating last night and that there weren’t too many sore heads this morning. Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

Every month last year, we dedicated a blog post to the UK and Ireland’s best walks. From County Cork to Ashdown Forest, we’ve covered walks of all abilities and lengths. In case you missed them, or are in need of some inspiration for things to do on the first weekend of 2016, here’s a roundup of some of our favourite walks from 2015’s Walk of the Month series.

Garinish Loop, County Cork

In August, we took a trip across the Irish Sea to the Garinish Loop on the Beara Peninsula. The Garinish Loop is a 4km coastal walk which can be challenging in places and should take around an hour and a half to complete. The walk takes in stunning coastal scenery and uninterrupted views out across to Dursey Island and the open sea.

See the full walk here: Garinish Loop

 

Lower Largo to St Monans, Fife

In September, Walk of the Month saw us heading to Fife to visit the section of the Fife Coastal Path between Lower Largo and St Monans. The route is just less than 9 miles long and can take around 4 hours to complete. There’s a lot to explore along this section of the path including historical ruins, spectacular coastal views and plenty of wildlife.

See the full walk here: Lower Largo to St Monans

 

Ashdown Forest, Sussex

Back in May, our Walk of the Month was a 10 mile route through the beautiful open heathland of Ashdown Forest, the home of Winnie the Pooh. Along the way, you’ll spot familiar places from the books such as Pooh Sticks Bridge and Five Hundred Acre Forest, or One Hundred Acre Wood as A.A Milne renamed it.

See the full walk here: Ashdown Forest

 

Aber Falls, Gwynedd

Back in June, we took it upon ourselves to explore the Welsh countryside and the 4.5 mile circular walk from Abergwyngregyn to the striking Aber Falls. The walk is relatively easy and should take around 3 hours to complete. This route is perfect for photographers as well as anyone with a keen interest in history, as the route travels past the ruins of an Iron Age house dating back around 2,700 years.

See the full walk here: Aber Falls

 

Coniston to Tarn Hows Wildlife Walk, Cumbria

For a peaceful wildlife walk in the Lake District, take a look at February’s Walk of the Month, a 5 mile figure of eight route from Coniston Water to Tarn Hows, that should take around two and a half hours to complete. Keep your eyes peeled for the abundance of wildlife in this area, which include red squirrels and Cumbria’s Herdwick sheep.

See the full walk here: Tarn Hows Wildlife Walk

 

Burnham Overy Staithe to Stiffkey, Norfolk

Exactly one year ago today, we published 2015’s first Walk of the Month; a bracing 9.8 mile sea air walk on the Norfolk Coast Path. Wander along the coast from the hamlet of Burnham Overy Staithe, through Holkham Gap and the delightful seaside town of Wells-on-Sea, to Stiffkey. Dogs are more than welcome on this walk and there are some lovely dog friendly beaches along the way for them to run about on.

See the full walk here: Burnham Overy Staithe to Stiffkey

For more walks from 2015 and for upcoming walks in 2016, keep your eye on the Walk of the Month category of our blog where we’ll be bringing you the routes for most beautiful and interesting walks from across the country. If you have any suggestions for Walk of the Month, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch by Twitter or Facebook and you could see your suggestion appearing in an upcoming blog post!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Experience More In 2016

Sunday, December 27th, 2015
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This New Year, Sykes Cottages are inviting you to experience more on your next holiday. Whether that’s by visiting a part of the country you’ve never been to before, trying a new activity, or indulging in something a little different, we want you to make the most of your getaway.

LIVE MORE on the wild side

Live more on the wild sideIt’s tempting to stick to what you know but by doing so, you can miss out on some really extraordinary experiences. On your next holiday, how about a gravity-defying trip to the world’s first subterranean trampoline in Wales, or an alternative day out like white-water rafting or falconry?

 

EXPLORE MORE locations

Explore more locationsHave you always fancied visiting the Highlands? Want to go back and re-live your childhood holidays to Cornwall? Or maybe you just want to explore a completely new part of the UK or Ireland? Now is the time to do it! Book early to make sure you have the best choice of cottages.

 

ENJOY MORE of the little things

Enjoy more of the little thingsEnsure your holiday is really special by treating yourself to something you’ve always wanted. Book a cosy cottage with an open fire to curl up in front of; spoil yourself at a luxury cottage with a hot tub, glass of champagne in hand; or cook up a storm at a cottage with the kitchen of your dreams.

Enter our new competition

To help you experience more in 2016, we’re giving away two Red Letter Days vouchers, worth £200 each. The vouchers will enable you to choose from over 650 fantastic experiences including hot air balloon rides, fine dining, paddle boarding and eagle handling. To enter this new competition, all you need to do is enter your details here. Entries close on Friday 26th February 2016.

Sykes Cottages have over 6,000 holiday cottages to choose from across the UK and Ireland, so wherever you fancy heading on your 2016 holiday, we’re sure to have the perfect cottage to suit you.

Enter our new competition

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Cooking with Christmas Leftovers

Saturday, December 26th, 2015
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Merry Christmas to all of our fantastic customers and owners, we hope you had a wonderful day yesterday! One of the highlights of Christmas Day for many of us is the food- Christmas dinner, Christmas pudding, mince pies and mulled wine- but let’s face it, there’s always leftovers. If you’re staring at a mountain of leftover turkey and Christmas pudding and wondering what to make with it, let us give you some inspiration. Christmas pudding ice cream sundae anyone?

Turkey Cacciatore (serves 4)

Recipe via bbcgoodfood.com

Ingredients:Christmas leftover recipe

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Splash of vinegar
  • 500g leftover turkey (or however much you have left), torn into strips
  • 125g mozzarella
  • 2 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs
  • Seasoning

Method:

  1. Add oil to pan and fry onion and garlic until softened.
  2. Add the sugar, chopped tomatoes, dash of vinegar, seasoning and oregano, and then simmer for 20 minutes until the mixture is very thick.
  3. Add the turkey then transfer to a baking dish.
  4. Tear the mozzarella into chunks and scatter over the top, then scatter the breadcrumbs with a tiny bit of ground pepper.
  5. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 7 and bake for 20 minutes until turkey is piping hot and the top of the bake is golden and bubbling.
  6. Serve with mashed potato, jacket potato, rice or pasta.

 

Turkey Tikka Skewers (makes 12 skewers)

Recipe via goodtoknow.co.uk and Slimming World

Ingredients:Christmas leftover recipes

  • 200g fat free natural yoghurt, plus extra to serve
  • 3 tbsp tikka curry powder, plus extra to serve
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3cm root ginger, peeled and grated
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 800g leftover turkey breast, cut into chunks
  • 2 red peppers, cut into chunks
  • Handful freshly chopped coriander to serve

Method:

  1. Mix the yoghurt, tikka powder, garlic, ginger and lime juice into a bowl. Season to taste. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 20 minutes- or overnight if you have time.
  2. Heat grill to medium-hot. Add turkey chunks and peppers onto 12 metal skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes to stop them burning.
  3. Grill each skewer for 6-8 minutes on each side or until edges are lightly charred and turkey is cooked through.
  4. Serve skewers on a serving platter and scatter coriander over. Serve with lime wedges and bowl of yoghurt sprinkled with tikka powder.

 

Jamie’s leftover Christmas pudding and ice cream sundae (serves 4)

Recipe via jamieoliver.com

Ingredients:Christmas leftover recipe

  • 200g leftover Christmas pudding (or however much you have left)
  • 6 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • Red or mulled wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 500ml vanilla ice cream
  • 1 handful toasted, flaked almonds
  • 100g dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Place a pan over medium heat and crumble in Christmas pudding. Fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring now and then.
  2. Place a second pan over low heat and add cranberry sauce and splash of wine. Stir until warmed through. Add sugar if taste is too tart for your personal preference.
  3. Once pudding is warm and slightly crispy, and the sauce is warm, divide half of the pudding between four bowls.
  4. Add a scoop of ice cream to each bowl then drizzle over hot cranberry sauce. Sprinkle almonds on top.
  5. Divide the other half of the Christmas pudding between the four bowls again and layer with ice cream, cranberry sauce and almonds.
  6. Serve with grated chocolate on top.

For more recipes using Christmas leftovers, you can check out our blog posts from last year and the year before! Other ideas include turkey and parsnip curry, Christmas pudding crumble and mini turkey and cranberry pies.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sunday Snapshots: Winter Landscapes

Sunday, December 20th, 2015
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Winter is one of the most magical times of the year. Yes, we may complain about it being wet and cold at times, but all that frost and snow does make for beautiful photographs. To celebrate winter in all its splendour, here are ten spectacular photographs of winter across the UK from Cornwall to the Cairngorms.

Cotswolds

Lake District

Cairngorms National Park

North Yorkshire

Cheshire

Cornwall

 Rhondda Cynon Taf

Derbyshire

Norfolk

Gloucestershire

To see more magical photographs of winter in Britain, take a look at the winner and runners up from our Winter in the UK competition earlier this year. Hundreds of you sent in your snaps and we had lots of fun choosing our finalists!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Day Out Guide: Liverpool

Friday, December 11th, 2015
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If you’re in search of somewhere to go for a short break in the New Year, try Liverpool! A vibrant, dynamic city unlike any other in Britain, Liverpool is the perfect place for a getaway in 2016. The city is bursting at the seams with cultural and musical heritage, world-class shopping and dining experiences and a witty, down-to-earth sense of humour that will have you planning your next visit as soon as you get home. If you’re planning a trip to Liverpool, here’s our guide to what you should see, eat and do whilst you’re there.

What to See

You’ll never run out of things to see whilst you’re in Liverpool with plenty of impressive architecture and art to take in. Make sure you head down to the waterfront to see the three majestic buildings known as the Three Graces: the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building, which are the most iconic buildings of the Liverpool skyline. Another must is a visit to the spectacular Albert Dock, which is one of the UK’s best heritage attractions and largest collections of Grade I listed buildings, with award-winning museums, art galleries, restaurants and bars on site. Another brilliant place to visit is Liverpool Cathedral which is one of Britain’s largest cathedrals, it’s free to enter though you can pay extra for an audio tour, with special events and twilight tours taking place during the winter.

What to Eat

Liverpool is a haven for foodies with a host of new, independent restaurants opening up in the past few years. Leaf on Bold Street is a personal favourite, this tea shop and bar is a unique experience with hundreds of varieties of tea and a tasty menu- try the breakfasts which are served until three at the weekend, you won’t be disappointed! For coffee and cake, head to East Avenue Bakehouse, also on Bold Street, where you’ll be greeted with an array of delicious-looking cakes to choose from, as well as a seasonal menu if you fancy a spot of lunch. For an evening meal, we recommend The Quarter, a vibrant Italian-inspired restaurant in the Georgian Quarter of town, or Lucha Libre, which serves incredible Mexican street food, on Wood Street.

What to Do

You can’t visit Liverpool, the 2008 European Capital of Culture, without paying a visit to at least one of the museums. Whether it’s the Beatles Story, the Merseyside Maritime Museum or the Museum of Liverpool, there’s a wide selection of fascinating museums, as well as art galleries such as Tate Liverpool and the Walker Art Gallery. If shopping is more your thing, Liverpool is also emerging as one of the best shopping destinations in the UK. There’s a real mix of the big high-street and designer stores at Liverpool ONE, including the UK’s only Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar, and quirky, independent shops on Bold Street, which was named one of the best shopping streets in the country by Lonely Planet. Lastly, make sure you take a trip on a ferry ‘cross the Mersey. The 50 minute River Explorer cruises take in all the best riverside sights and gives you a stunning viewpoint of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage waterfront.

Book your stay near Liverpool

Sykes Cottages have lots of stunning holiday rentals in the vicinity of Liverpool, making it easy for you to spend a day in this wonderful city. We have properties on the Wirral, in Chester and in Frodsham, all just a short train ride away; click here to visit our website and find the perfect holiday cottage for your short break to Liverpool. Or alternatively, check out our other day out guides for more short break ideas across the UK.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.